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ERBITUX Project Head and neck cancer

Endoscopic examination of squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Histological finding in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (click on the image to enlarge it).
(Zdroj: Nikon Microscopy – Human Pathology Digital Image Gallery)

Head and neck cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in men in EU countries. The incidence is increasing from northern countries to Mediterranean countries: the lowest incidence is seen in Sweden and United Kingdom (9-10 cases per 100.000 inhabitants), while the highest values have been recorded in France, where head and neck tumours are as common as the lung cancer (approx. 50 cases per 100.000 inhabitants). Head and neck tumours are much less frequently found in women than men. The geographic distribution is rather unequal as well: there is a high incidence in France, Switzerland, Scotland and Denmark, and a low incidence in Spain, Italy, Finland and some East European countries (2 or less cases per 100.000 inhabitants). The head and neck cancer incidence worldwide is reported to be 363.000 cases per year, and the mortality is about 200.000 per year [1].

In the last few years, there have been significant changes in treatment options for head and neck cancer. A measurable progress has been achieved thanks to multidisciplinary protocols, concomitant chemoradiotherapy with or without cytostatic induction, new radiotherapy approaches, such as the fractionation, IMRT (intensity-modulated radiotherapy), a renewed discussion on the usefulness of induction in locally advanced tumours, preservation protocols and, quite recently, biological therapy.

Head and neck carcinomas include tumours of upper respiratory tract, swallowing tract, salivary glands, as well as tumours growing from the skin, vessels, nerves and other tissues. Head and neck tumours are most frequently found in smokers, alcoholics, as well as persons who do not maintain a good oral hygiene, and might also suffer from a variety of related diseases. All these factors contribute to a poor prognosis of the disease. Although the majority of these tumours can be easily detected by a simple clinical examination, many patients go to see a doctor when the tumour has progressed into an advanced stage. When searching for an optimal standard treatment option, a tight cooperation is necessary among the head and neck surgeon and the radiology and chemotherapy specialists.

Epidemiology of head and neck cancer in the Czech Republic

Click on the images to enlarge them.
(Source: www.svod.cz [3])

Malignant neoplasms of oral cavity (C00-C08)

Time trends in incidence and mortality. Comparison of incidence among individual Czech regions.
Age structure of patients. Comparison of incidence in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Malignant neoplasms of other sites in the pharynx (C09, C10, C12-C14)

Time trends in incidence and mortality. Comparison of incidence among individual Czech regions.
Age structure of patients. Comparison of incidence in the Czech Republic and abroad.

References

  1. Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, Pisani P.: Global cancer statistics, 2002. CA Cancer J Clin 2005, 55(2):74-108.
  2. Kostřica R, Smilek P, Hložek J a spol. Současná komplexní léčba nádorů hlavy a krku. Skripta LF MU, Brno, 2003.
  3. Dušek, L., Mužík, J., Kubásek, M., Koptíková, J., Žaloudík, J., Vyzula, R.: Epidemiologie zhoubných nádorů v České republice [online]. Masarykova univerzita, Brno, 2005. Dostupný z WWW: http://www.svod.cz. ISSN 1802-8861

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